Mary Whiton Calkins is a writer of fantasy and science fiction who has written for various science fiction publications and anthologies, among others. Calkins has worked for the New York Times, the Starlog, and The New Yorker. As well as writing, Calkins is an artist and teaches literature at an urban community college.
In addition to writing, Calkins has also illustrated several books, including the upcoming “The Lost Children”, a sequel to her bestselling “Serenity”. With this novel, she hopes to combine her love of writing with her love of art, and create a new genre of children's stories that explores the darker side of human nature.
In “The Book Thief”, Calkins takes place in a city where the sky is divided into seven concentric circles, each denoting a different form of science fiction. This city, known as Babylon 7, is ruled by a dictator, Dr. Noah. Noah has outlawed reading, but one group of citizens, known as “Book Stealers” can break this law without fear of consequences. They steal books from Babylon 7's library and distribute them throughout the world, and they are also suspected of having links to the Syndicate, a shadowy international crime syndicate.
The Book Stealers' targets are not only Babylon 7, but also the United States of America, and even a small satellite orbiting Earth. A man named Jim Taggart is the one person who can bring these groups to justice, because he knows that the Book Stealers has the means to track down their location. He recruits the help of a woman called Kaylee Frye, who is also the wife of his former assistant, John.
Taggart and Frye join forces to solve the mystery of the seven concentric circles, as well as the identity of the mysterious Book Stealer. Along the way, they also find themselves drawn into the larger conspiracy that has enveloped Babylon 7.
The Book Thief is the first book in Calkins' trilogy about science fiction, so it is important to read all three to fully understand the story. It is also a book that has been recommended to me by many other readers as an excellent example of how to tell a complete story. Even though this is her debut, I'm expecting that she will grow into this series and turn it into another bestseller.
The story begins when White goes into the museum to find a book that she is looking for. As she enters, she runs into a Book Thief who steals her book and leaves. White then . . . . . . follows him to Babylon 7 where she discovers that she must work with Noah to find the book she seeks. Eventually she meets up with Taggart and she tells him everything that she has discovered. but in the meantime, Noah's forces are tracking the book's whereabouts.
When Noah is injured, Taggart helps White to track the book. This leads them to Noah's office and they learn that Noah is working on a plan to use technology to remove the Book Stealers from Babylon 7. and move them to a new home. Noah wants to do this because he has found out that they are using technology to make nuclear bombs.